John Franklin Titus
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 9", Weight 156 lb.
- Debut June 8, 1903
- Final Game August 8, 1913
- Born February 21, 1876 in St. Clair, PA USA
- Died January 8, 1943 in St. Clair, PA USA
"Titus had one of the best batting eyes I ever saw." - Pete Alexander
Silent John Titus, along with Sherry Magee and Roy Thomas, gave the Philadelphia Phillies a strong outfield for several years in the 1900's. John was frequently among the league leaders in on-base percentage, doubles, and hit-by-pitch. Defensively, he had 201 assists in his eleven-year major league career as an outfielder.
Titus, in his obituary by the New York Times, was remembered as the last player to wear a handle-bar moustache.
A story called A Study in Suet by Lee Allen in The Complete Armchair Book of Baseball says that Titus kept a toothpick in his mouth, so naturally pitchers wanted to knock it out. When they discovered that he put the pick in the center of his mouth when he was going to swing, the pitchers were supposedly able to take advantage.
The SABR biography of Titus says he was a coal miner who served in the Army during the Spanish-American War (but never got to Cuba). Afterwards he played semi-pro ball and then minor league ball for Concord. He was hitting over .400 when the Phillies signed him and put him in the majors in 1903. When he suffered a broken leg in mid-1913, he was sold to the minor-league Kansas City team. In 1914 he was beaned and out of the lineup for a couple months. The next year Kansas City released him in mid-season.
Sadly, Titus finished out his major league career with the 1913 Boston Braves, thus missing out on the opportunity to play with the Miracle Braves in 1914 who won the 1914 World Series. Titus, in his last major league season in 1913 at age 37, had the highest batting average on the team, so he was still able to hit.
The SABR biography says that little is known about Titus after his playing days. He died years later in St. Clair, PA, where he had grown up. The only other player who was born in St. Clair, and who died in St. Clair, was Joe Holden.